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Finals season is upon us, and we all have extraordinary amounts of work to do. I don’t think there’s a single person on this campus who isn’t at least a tiny bit stressed. Over the past four years at Bates, I’ve discovered a few helpful tips for being more productive with my work, and I hope they help you!

Figure out where you’re most likely to get work done, and go there. This seems obvious, but staying in a place where it’s cozy and you’re liable to fall asleep isn’t usually the place where you’re most productive.

Set small goals for yourself instead of only having big, amorphous end-goals. Say you have a huge 10 page paper due in 5 days. Try to break that down into more manageable chunks; tell yourself that you need to write 3 pages per day, leaving yourself around 2 days to edit and revise the paper. Or break up the paper into its sections and write one per day. For instance, if you’re writing a psychology paper, spend a day writing the introduction, another writing the method, one on the results, and another on the discussion. That way, you have it all planned out based on the sectioning of the paper and you won’t cut off your train of thought just because you’ve hit a certain number of pages that day.

Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of each individual study session and each day. I find I’m more productive when I have something to be excited about when I’m done studying, whether it’s getting fancy coffee or working out or watching “The Flash” or some other show on Netflix. If I tell myself I can do something fun once I’m done studying or once I hit a certain goal, I’m much more likely to actually study productively or hit that goal.

Be sure to keep some good snack food with you, and by good, I mean relatively healthy. We all need brain food- no one likes a hangry brain, but be sure to feed it snacks that are good for it: nuts, fruit, etc. And if you simply must have junk food, try to keep it in moderation so you don’t go overboard.

My biggest tip is probably this: try to reduce the amount of time you spend complaining about the work you have to get done. All this does is stress you (and everyone else around you) out, and you’re also not using your time productively. Take a moment to think about how much time you spend complaining about your work. Wouldn’t that be better spent doing your work?

Best of luck, Bobcats. See you on the other side!

Rachel Minkovitz is a senior at Bates College double majoring in Psychology and French and Francophone Studies. She spends a lot of time listening to music, hanging out with friends, reading and writing, advocating for social justice, and looking for furry animals. 
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